East Blaxland shops the talk of the town

East Blaxland residents Dave Bishop and Rawiya Nahle are concerned about the proposed redevelopment of East Blaxland Shopping Centre.

East Blaxland residents Dave Bishop and Rawiya Nahle are concerned about the proposed redevelopment of East Blaxland Shopping Centre.

The area behind the existing East Blaxland shops, where it is proposed a small supermarket, three shops and another carpark be built.

The area behind the existing East Blaxland shops, where it is proposed a small supermarket, three shops and another carpark be built.

Developer Charlie Guo's son Stephen says there are no plans to demolish the existing shops in East Blaxland and they would like the tenants to "stay as long as they want".

Developer Charlie Guo's son Stephen says there are no plans to demolish the existing shops in East Blaxland and they would like the tenants to "stay as long as they want".

The family behind the proposed redevelopment of the East Blaxland Shopping Centre has sought to allay community concerns about the future of the existing shops bordering Old Bathurst Road.

Rumour has been rife, with suggestions the existing 13 shops would eventually be knocked down and replaced with a supermarket and residential accommodation.

A petition signed by 400 people was lodged with Blue Mountains City Council objecting to the development, following widespread parking and traffic congestion concerns.

Stephen Guo, speaking on behalf of his father Charlie Guo, said there were no plans to knock down the existing shops.

"There will be no demolishing in the short- or long-term," he said.

"There are no plans to put residential on top [of other shops]."

Charlie Guo, who runs an Asian grocery store in Mt Druitt, has submitted a development application to council for a small supermarket (529 square metres), and three new shops with basement level parking to the rear of the existing shops facing Old Bathurst Rd.

His son said they were open to proposals for another business instead of a supermarket, and the other three shops could sell anything.

"We don't want shops that will conflict with other people [the existing shops]," Mr Guo said.

Some existing shop owners said Mr Guo had not renewed their leases, so they were uncertain about the future.

Mr Guo (junior) said shop owners had now been offered further leases and last Friday eight of the 13 shop owners had thrown their support behind the proposed extension.

"We want them to stay as long as they want," Mr Guo said.

Rawiya (known as Rose) Nahle, an East Blaxland resident and daughter of the owner of the existing East Blaxland Supermarket, said the area did not need another supermarket, with sizable stores already in Emu Plains and Blaxland, and was concerned the already busy area would become too congested and there would be insufficient parking.

"People move to the Mountains because they want that quiet lifestyle. We are concerned about traffic congestion. Traffic on Old Bathurst Road is already ridiculous," she said.

Dave Bishop, who lives in the house bordering the carpark behind the shops, which will be removed to make way for the proposed redevelopment, said he didn't mind moving somewhere else in the area, but was "worried about the shop owners losing their livelihood".

Tony Wilkins who is a co-owner of the building behind East Blaxland shops, was concerned the redevelopment would butt right up against the boundary line with his building, and planned 3m deep excavations for the carpark would destabilise his three-storey double-brick building which houses five tenants.

He said the traffic congestion would "be a nightmare" with the back carpark only accessible by one entry (off High St), and questioned the necessity of another supermarket in the area.

But he conceded the "overall facelift [of the existing shops] would be good."

Long-term East Blaxland Newsagency co-owner Morris Coates was concerned the proposed supermarket would take away business from the existing shops.

"The size of the shop they want to build on top of the existing carpark, we feel will take business away from some of the other shops that are facing Old Bathurst Rd," Mr Coates said.

The council will review the development application and community submissions when deciding whether to approve the redevelopment.

  •  Meanwhile, the Lower Mountains will finally have access to more medical services in the area, with the approval of a new GP clinic in Blaxland. Blue Mountains councillors last week acknowledged that many residents have to travel to Penrith for medical treatment and welcomed the new clinic, which will be built on the corner of View and Hope streets. It will house 11 consulting rooms, two specialist rooms, a pathology facility and a pharmacy, and will operate seven days a week, from 7.30am-8pm.
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